29 year-old Matt McQuillan will get the opportunity his has been waiting for his entire golf career when he plays in the PGA Tour Qualifying School Final Stage next month – the chance to play on the PGA Tour.
The Kingstonian qualified for a spot in that tournament on Saturday by closing with a 2-under par, 70, in the 4th round of his second stage qualifying tournament in Murrieta, California. It was the low round of the day for the entire field and vaulted him from 10th place into a tie for 3rd.
McQuillan put together four birdies and two bogeys on the final day, one marked by gusty winds and cool temperatures. He leveled things out on the back with 9 straight pars to close. His rounds of 70,71,71,70 put him at 6 under par and well within the top 20 position he needed to advance.
“I’m just so relieved,” an excited McQuillan said in a phone call immediately after getting into the clubhouse. “The whole goal for Q-School was to get to final stage and have a good place to play for next year. Now I have a chance for that and a lot more.”
Rain plagued the final round and that played into the hands of McQuillan. “I have always played well in wind and rain but it was a grind today. It rained hard and blew sideways most of the day. Even with a good round going I knew I couldn’t let up on the last nine.”
McQuillan is just one of five Canadian or Canadian residents to advance through second stage qualifying. He joins Canadians Ted Brown, Chris Baryla, and Richard Lee along with Canadian residents David MacKenzie and Matt Richardson.
After taking some time to enjoy the Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos, McQuillan says he will head to Orlando to begin his preparation for the biggest tournament of his life. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s what I have worked so hard for all these years.”
Already exempt to final stage based on his play on the Nationwide Tour in 2010 is Jon Mills, formerly of Deep River and Belleville.
Approximately 156 players will play in the 6 round Final Stage tournament being played December 1-6th at the Orange County National Golf Club just west of Orlando, Florida. There the top 25 players will earn PGA Tour Cards for 2011 while the next 50 players will be fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour. The rest of the field earns conditional status on the Nationwide Tour . The winner also receives $50,000.